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Submarine


With a nod to French New Wave films (colors and opening credits that practically scream Godard! out of the screen), it's no wonder that I'm a fan of Submarine; the debut film of Richard Ayoade, a coming of age story set in Wales following quirky Oliver. While the plot is typical young male angst fare this film takes a fresh spin on that tired subject and the whimsy of the direction even extends to pointing this out--is it mere coincidence that young Oliver's favorite novel is Catcher in the Rye or that a drawing of Woody Allen is tacked to his wall? Or are these subtle references to the typical-ness of this story. Young, over-romantic boy envisions how classmates would mourn his death even as his infatuation with a manic pixie girl drives him to distraction. Note the absence of the "dream" part from that trope as moody Jordana doesn't live to serve Oliver's fantasies. While their romance begins in a whirlwind of teenage dreams of free-wheeling adventures through abandoned amusements parks with sparklers, Jordana has demands and desires of her own. When Oliver disappoints her and can't seem to function as a normal human being, Jordana doesn't forgive him or make excuses for his behavior. She calls him out, dumps him, and looks for someone who will treat her better. Now that is a refreshing take on this tired story. Although this film is from Oliver's perspective we luckily escape a default plot-line of the understanding girlfriend who accepts Oliver's shortcomings and works with him through it. Jordana has her own problems going on and while Oliver's feelings are valid, they don't invalidate her need for emotional support from her boyfriend. I could wax on, but surmise to say between the lovely visuals and the subtle revisals of a common story: Submarine is definitely an enjoyable watch.